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Collaboration and Partnerships

With its rich tradition of educational innovation, strong work ethic and principles, and established or emerging economic clusters, eastern North Carolina is well positioned to host a culture of innovation that mobilizes the skills, knowledge and abilities of a new creative class.  However, the loss of young people from eastern North Carolina’s rural counties is widespread, accelerating and often reaching crisis proportions.  For the many that want to stay in the region, the need is for quality jobs, a creative culture, entrepreneurial opportunities and a more intentional education system that better supports their employment goals.

Stemming this loss of creative talent is critical to transforming eastern North Carolina’s economy and communities and remains a top priority for ECU.  As a near-term strategy, we is partnering with community colleges to retain transitioning service members and veterans in North Carolina through training and civilian employment.  Longer term, we are engaged with regional parents, students, educators, and employers to build clearer pathways connecting education with employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.  ECU is aggressively preparing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Design, and Mathematics) graduates with the skills, knowledge and abilities to innovatively solve real-world problems.  These graduates are in high demand by regional employers and also help attract new employers to the region. 

Additionally, the University is increasing research funding and strengthening its research infrastructure to fuel new discoveries and innovations that result in new jobs and investment within targeted economic clusters such as health care, advanced manufacturing (e.g., pharmaceuticals), and the military.  Finally, we are engaging our expertise and capabilities to address pressing regional challenges and build healthier, more livable and vibrant communities.  In short, ECU is working to grow, attract and retain the technically-skilled, creative talent needed to transform the region.